OAKLAND -- The conversations were spirited, naturally, because they involved Draymond Green’s mouth and a high-stakes basketball game.
Portland Trail Blazers also brought their games, one involving basketball and the other engaging in dialogue.
So it was on, half past high noon on Easter Sunday at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors won the game, 121-109, taking a 1-0 lead in their first-round Western Conference playoff series. That was enough to give them the last word, at least until Game 2 Wednesday night.
All in fun, right?
“It's a game we all love,” Blazers guard CJ McCollum said. “We come out here and represent our teams, representing our hometowns where everybody's from. And where I'm from, if you talk trash, then I'm going to talk trash to you. It's not disrespectful. We're not talking about nobody's mamas or nothing bad.”
McCollum could talk trash because he scored 41 points, including 27 in a spectacular first half. On several occasions while torching Warriors defenders, he would turn to the bench to shout himself out.
But, of course, Green is not about to miss out on a good opportunity to talk trash. In addition to posting 19 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists and three steals, he also blocked five shots.
Though waving a finger, as Dikembe Mutombo used to do, is outlawed, blocking shots often comes with an earful or trash talk or a mighty bellow of pride. Green specializes in both.
After smashing one of the McCollum’s shots, Green threw a few words at the Blazer. He did the same after soaring to reject a Damian Lillard dunk attempt at the rim.
“We were talking back and forth the entire game,” Green said. “But that's just a part of the game.”
Not only is trash-talk part of the game, its also part of the rite of passage in the NBA. Most everybody does it in some form, whether overt or with careful whisper. It’s never better than when it involves players who know each other well.
“Having a guy like that on the floor, I think it raises the level of the game,” Lillard said of Green. “Because I don't even talk trash, and he was saying so much out there that I had a whole lot to say tonight. I think that's just good for the game.
“I think the league has softened up a lot, and it's not like that. So you've got to have a rough guy like him out there. I think it's necessary. I think their team depends on him to be had that ‘dawg’ out there and to be that person.”
When Green failed to execute a Jordanesque dunk, banging the ball off the back of the rim, McCollum couldn’t help pointing it out to Green or anyone else willing to listen, all while snickering.
“Yeah, he told me I need to do more calf raises,” Green said, laughing. “No, it's mutual respect both ways. We've played those guys last year in the series, but quite a bit over the last four or five years where you kind of know them, they know you.
“But we all know each other off the floor as well. It's not like there's anyone out there being disrespectful towards another. It's fun. You hit a shot, he's talking to us. I hit a shot, I'm talking to them. I miss the dunk, he's telling me I need to do calf raises. It was good back and forth, it makes the game a lot more fun, that's for sure.”